- News Home
6 March 2014 1:04 pm ,
Vol. 343 ,
Antiretroviral drugs can protect people from becoming infected by HIV. But so-called pre-exposure prophylaxis, or PrEP...
Two studies show that eating a diet low in protein and high in carbohydrates is linked to a longer, healthier life, and...
Considered an icon of conservation science, researchers at World Wildlife Fund (WWF) headquarters in Washington, D.C.,...
The new atlas, which shows the distribution of important trace metals and other substances, is the first product of...
Early in April, the first of a fleet of environmental monitoring satellites will lift off from Europe's spaceport in...
Since 2000, U.S. government health research agencies have spent almost $1 billion on an effort to churn out thousands...
Magdalena Koziol, a former postdoc at Yale University, was the victim of scientific sabotage. Now, she is suing the...
- 6 March 2014 1:04 pm , Vol. 343 , #6175
- About Us
More Blessed to Give
22 July 2003 (All day)
"Let me not so much seek to be consoled, as to console ... to be loved as to love," says the St. Francis prayer. Now, science has come up with empiric confirmation of the spiritual truth that it's better to give than to receive.
It's been well established that social contacts have a positive effect on health. Now psychologists at the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor say they've teased out the active ingredient in that effect: It's the giving. A group led by Stephanie Brown reports in this month's Psychological Science on a 5-year study of 423 elderly married couples. Each individual was surveyed at the beginning as to the amount of "instrumental" support (help such as rides, errands, and child care) they gave and got from friends and relatives. They were also quizzed on the emotional support they gave and got from their spouses.
Over the course of the study 134 participants died. The researchers found that getting a lot of support did not have much effect either way on mortality. But even after controlling for numerous factors, including age, sex, physical and mental health, and socioeconomic status, the emotional givers showed a 30% reduction in mortality risk. And the reduction was even greater--42%--for the instrumental givers.
University of Michigan psychologist Toni Antonucci says she agrees with the authors that "we have underestimated how important giving is." Brown suggests the study could help lead to changes in treatment of chronically ill or elderly people: Interventions designed to "help people feel supported" may need to be changed to focus on "what people do to help others."